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tv   [untitled]    February 10, 2012 6:48am-7:18am PST

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of course, in arabic. but this one he wrote in english. so i'll read it. one figure in the poem you should know, humbaba, which is an ogre, a monster of immemorial age. that was a special big garden, a forest, where all types of trees and flowers grew. the trees bending down gently flinging branches. our orchard grew like a crown on the sun's eyebrow. where did humbaba come from? his mother was just a cave, his father unknown. who made him a friend pretending guardian of the orchard. did those nice shrubs need fear
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to go begging for a garden and have humbaba in his treachery ilk. those plants and flowers were like books everyone could read, not cut and throw away. their different fantastic colors had formed our blood so our veins ran smoothly, our 7 wonders showed. then humbaba made a whirlwind of fire and snow. who crowned him king? who showed him our garden was but a jail? humbaba was great and scary, but not so very strong, though no one could ever conquer him as no one would ever try. time and again, when things grew old, humbaba alone believed himself eternal and young, still powerful, able to defeat all. humbaba didn't want to know one fact: that accumulation will lead to eruptive change.
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but, sadly, when suddenly he realized it after all, he chose to check its power on all, the tall. he crushed all the shrubs and plants leaving them creeping and broken all over. he damaged the flowers and colors, the flowers withered, their leaves all burned and soon they were throwing their seeds every which way and when the whole orchard changed into a dry, gray waste, humbaba, his mind like stone, shouted his horrible cry of fire and burned all that gray and yellow, birds of all kinds were flying away with ashes in their beaks which humbaba couldn't oversee any more or ever set on fire. then, grandfather ended his day and continued closing his big thick yellow book, turning to
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his grandsons and daughters and anding them a big red bud, then bidding them good night and laying his head on his yawning book, he glances solemnly at the full moon in the core of the sky, his eyelids blinking once, searching for that big, silvery rose. the next reader is dima shahabi >> i'd like to move on with an iraqi poet, one of the most prominent and brilliant poets of her time recently passed away in cairo, in june, actually. she was not only a poet, she was luminous and free-thinking pioneer in establishing the theory of what has come to be known as free verse in arabic poetry.
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in addition to her extensive laments on oppression of women and melancholy. she left. no cheek turned pale, no lip trembled. the door did not hear the story of her death. no window curtain overflowed with sorrow and gloom to follow the tomb until it disappeared. the moon lamenting its depression. the night surrendered itself without worry to the morning. the lights brought the voice of the milk girls, the fasting and the moaning of a starved cat of which nothing remained except bone. the fussing of salesmen, the struggle of life, kids threw
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stones at one another in the middle of the road while dirty water flooded the avenue and the wind toyed with gates and roof tops, alone in a state of semi oblivion. . >> on the day al-matarazzo street was bombed, did you notice how quickly it folded in itself? or the broken tea cups and coffee-stained saucers, the gray matter, and just before the street was eviscerated by
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those, just before that moment, did you hear the patter, the proclamation, the prayer as they wrangled and swore, denied and affirmed, did you hear the words as they fell? for a thousand years we have, two thousand years, more coffee? what do you think? but this book says -- map, border, industry, collusion, resistance, truth, spirit, faith, doctrine, domain, love, free, portal, wind, cut. did you hear the euphony of the street like a rain forest of song birds pefrpblged among the crinkle and fluttering leaves of newspapers as they addressed if not solved, defined if not created the problems and the promise of tomorrow? did you hear the explosion, the screech, the howl, the scream?
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did you even know of the dreams imploded inside the molten iron, splayed blood and torn guts across the narrow book-lined street as debate turned to barb's screeches, philosophy into choked smoke and a thousand years of history was buried in the rubble. or was there nothing except an inxoerable deadly silence. and the next reader is rick london. >> i'm going to read a few poems by the palestinian poet mahmud darish. i have the wisdom of one
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condemned to die. i possess nothing, so nothing can possess me and have written my will in my own blood. oh, inhabitant of my song, trust in water. and i sleep pierced and crowned by my tomorrow. i dream the earth's heart is greater than its mouth, more clear than its mirrors, and i was lost in a white cloud that carried me up high as if i were a hupo and the wind itself my wings. at dawn, the call of the night guard woke me from my dream, from my language. you will live another death, so revise your last will. the hour of execution is postponed again.
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i asked, until when? he said, wait till you have died some more. i said, i possess nothing, so nothing can possess me, and have written my will in my own blood. oh, inhabitant of my song, trust in water. this last poem has an epigraph, the cypress is the shadow of the tree and not the tree itself, and has no shadow because it is the tree's shadow. the cypress is in pieces like a shattered minaret. it's asleep in the road in its own aesthetic shadows, green and dark, just like it is. no one has been harmed. cars pass by, speeding over its
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branches, rising dust settling on their windows. the cypress is in pieces, but the dove that chose it doesn't move its exposed nest to a nearby accommodation. overhead, two migrating birds circle the sufficiency of its nesting place and trade gestures. a woman says to her neighbor, i wonder, did you see a storm come by? no, nor a bulldozer, and yet the cypress is in pieces. and someone passing the debris says, maybe it got bored from neglect or worn out by time, for it's as long as a giraffe and as meaningly as a dust broom and it provides no shade for lovers. a small boy says, i used to draw it without air. its lines were easy to follow.
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and a girl says the sky today is lacking because the cypress is in pieces. and a young man says, no, the sky today is complete because the cypress is in pieces. and i say to myself, it's not obscure or clear. the cypress is in pieces. there is only this. the cypress is in pieces. . >> a poem i wrote shortly after 9-11. the terrorists for rachel cory and all those who were idealists and who actually believed that they could make an effect and social change. the terrorists who lives amongst us is not you, the terrorist who lurks in the shadows of our crowded city streets isn't me. he's not a demon with bulging
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eyes, a twisted mouth full of dirt, a crooked mouth, fangs driping blood. it's not the savage guner waiting for our school on their way to school. no, this heinous replica of satan doesn't look like a jew. dopt make a habit of supplying the motives of sin with colors of skin because it's skin deep. a student with dreams of statehood or a teenage girl driven by desperation and fear or a dentist or an apprentice
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of a dead soldier, who crouches in the wounds of the dead and the dying, who hurls stones at tanks and encroaching soldiers, who stands unmoved before a roiling tank, who stares with barbed eyes. the enemy is never one who kills for no reason. the enemy is never one who must be vanquished at all cost. it is not so easy to kill from the inside, a shifting corridor of blame. not so easy to trace an intricate blame of betrayals
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and broken treaties. the enemy is not you, the enemy is not me. the enemy is muslim, christian, atheist, hindu, jew. he is our collective face, our evolution, the devolution, the ripening of long injustices. thank you. the next poet is michael palmer. >> what of that wolf hound at full stride. what of the woman that serves as fairl guide and witness to the snowy hive? what of the singer robed in red and frozen at mid-song? and the stone, its brokenness, or the voice oft seen that says note the dragon seen but asking no questions of flight, no questions of irridescence, what
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of that century, did you see it pass? what of that wolf hound at your back? and then a poem that is for mahmud darlish called the dream of narcissus. the dream of narcissus, that there would be a silence loud as time. the dream of the writer that there could be a silence loud as time, the dream of time that rest might come, the dream of rest, that unrest might arise. the dream of the palm, the pilgrims would enter the village. the dream of the village, that they depart with their palms and the house dreaming of his leveling and the exile as well,
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the dream of night that the day would be purified, the dream of day that the dark would be lifted, and the dream of the dream but who is to speak of this? i don't think this needs to be explained, it's called mad man with broom. the realist crows return at earliest morning. and the madman with broom, madman in his night shirt with a broom, he, too, returns. he thinks to roust the crows from the mulberry boughs by jabing and swirling his broom, by crazily twirling his broom in the wet summer air and hurling curses skyward beyond the boughs and the crows toward the fading gods beyond the fading stars. but the realist crows know it is only a man in a nightshirt
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after dawn; that the broom is a broom and that his cries are nothing more than words and half words the heavy air will swallow. they rise anyway from the tree, as best to quiet him and let morning be morning. soon enough they will return again by twos and threes, settling among the spreading limbs, their laughter the same before and after. catherine case is the next reader. . >> one is called the mountain by hashim hafik and it's translated by sadi samoi. i have washed the mountain, i have washed the stones and the pebbles that clings to the trees. i have washed the mountain.
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i have lit the paths and the back ways around the mountain. i have lit the caves and the stairs and the hidouts in the folds of the mountain. i have washed the summit and every crevice of the mountain so my loved ones might pass in the forenoon of the mountain day. this is called, lament for a market place in babylon, by abdul karin al karid and it's a reference to a suicide bombing. this one and the next one are both translated by salim yusef. on this grave stone are angels and people weeping. what are people waiting for, their ship? here it comes, borne by the deluge. in a market place now
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frequented by money changers with beards and baggy trousers, who restores the limbs and who throws open the gates for hollow-eyed gods coming in from babylon with red chests and white furious hair? i wonder who? on the day of march 1st in the 5th year after the second millennium, a massacre took place in babylon. it's my pleasure it introduce the next poet, george evans. . >> first, i would like to read a poem by my dear friend and wife, daisy samora, who was to
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be here today but is in nicaragua, keeping in mind what michael said about jorge and casablanca, i will read it in her language or my spanish first, then in translation. it's a poem directly addressed to poets but certainly to activists as well. (speaking spanish) no man's
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land. we are a mine field of clarity and whoever crosses the barbed wire comes back to life. but who is interested in crawling through undergrowth? who dares sail a tempest? who wants to come face to face with purity? that's why we're fenced off in this no man's land under permanent cross fire. three bomb holes. flag study. red. she walks into the bright
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vegetable garden, chopped water to life from brittle landscape, leans her hoe against goat wire, admires shoots balanced on turned earth, looks up, fulfilleds a leaves sigh, clouds, hands on her hips, her jaw falls open and a bomb drops down her throat. white. the horizon, a black line against brilliant white landscape, pale blue sky above it, empty except for heat devil blur, a raindrop sound hits a wooden post against cloudless light, another, the lamb, his
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children, wife, then he drenched in bullet rain. blue. the final moment of night passing, exposes limbs, torsos, heads, breasts, humans, cows, goats, curved and knotted heaps, lays blue against bitten grass. final piece, the title is the headline for a newspaper. anti-war activist immoh lates along kennedy's express way near giant flame of the millennium skull up tour 4 days before november 2006 elections
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and no one pays attention. everything but the heart reduced to ash. thank you. . >> i just want to thank george for bringing to bear some of the numbers, some of the horrific things that are happening in iraq right now. this poem was drawn from my experiences in iraq from the culture, from the music and from its traditions. so i have dedicated this poem to iraq. i think it will be helpful for you to know el kubenchi, along with el watanabi. el kubenchi is famous for music, a great history and
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tradition of music, and he has taught all the gray modern singers of the 20th century who came out of iraq. his music has touched me and you will hear it in this poem, 32 beads on a string. i woke from the nightmare of a gutted macom, not because i have not yet bled my life in yellow, but because minarettes looking sky ward. one burly buffalo looking for hooves and hot breath because the skin is not yet numb and the lights are not yet flickering, i will continue to sip at my hot tea and stare at the dust-colored noon. one white dasha screams with the brilliance of red.
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can you hear them, the melodious intent, the glimmering mood in their eyes. face stitched by seam, a garment i have sewn to my skin. whatever remains of el gubenchi's 1932 cairo studio recording lives between the old cobblestone quarter and my still-warm mahogony ear. i should have gotten up to shake his hand, this uncomfortable tension between me and god. medina, its streets adorned with smells from the bazaar, yet i have chosen to adorn myself in the still concrete of columns. i am for the transcription of
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the arabic. in the morning, he howled the song in the name of his father, perhaps new fathers weep at the birth of their sons. do not cry for leila or for him, but drink the red wine and grow your love doublely, one for the ruby in the cup, the other for its rouge on your cheek. bombs rape the eyes of the sleeping assyrian gods. as if it were only a sand box, a few worthless grains of sand. i'll cut for you the last swathe of blue from the sky, sever my and if you'll let me,
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but for 5 minutes more, leave me to sleep without the knowledge of war. a kanun weeps near the funeral of music. having been occupied, notes mourn for the loss of their song. i am for a concert of horses, the origin of gazelle leapt up from the heart of al gubungi. have you made small steps into the desert within us or listened for the gutterals longed deep within our throats, you would have come bearing gifts. i have nothing in red that i would not abide in green. el batanabi wrote the heart of our silken tanab, what need
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have we for you? no poem has ever enough red but that its blood might river beneath the veins of its people. beneath the desert sun, one man by one man by one man breathes six. thousands of tons wrung sonorous from the sky. where is god? black-eyed woman, the street dogs are running wild. will you save me? simple white ignorance, even the desert has gone into hiding. there is no more meaning here than the crested moon holds towards a dying grove of date trees. i am for the arabic,


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